According to Slice Intelligence, which studied the electronic receipts of 12 major retailers in 2015, buy online, pick up in store accounted for 6.7 percent of digital sales, up from 6.4 percent in 2014.
Slice found that Sam's Club shoppers were the most likely to take advantage of the service, with click and collect accounting for 30 percent of its online sales last year. Kmart came in second, at 23 percent, followed by Toys R Us, Best Buy and Home Depot.
Most of the information retailers share about the click-and-collect service pertains to the subsequent sales that get rung up when shoppers pick up their items, or the fact that consumers love the convenience.
In November, Kohl's said 20 percent of its shoppers who used buy online, pick up in store ended up making additional purchases while they're there. And while Wal-Mart does not provide specifics for its in-store pickup service, which it first launched in 2007, Jaeme Laczkowski, who heads up media relations for the retailer's e-commerce division, said its customer retention and satisfaction numbers are trending higher because of the service.
Despite consumer demand for click and collect, surprisingly few retailers have rolled out the service in earnest. According to a recent study by customer service analytics firm StellaService, which examined the performance of 40 retailers over the holiday season, only 16 offered the option to buy online and pick up in store. Along with Kohl's and Wal-Mart, those retailers include Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Macy's.
As the rollout of click and collect matures across the industry, both APT's Manzi and JDA's Prewitt predict retailers will figure out a way to make the service more profitable for their businesses — mainly because they have no choice. Similar to the way consumers now expect free shipping on their online orders — regardless of the pressure it puts on retailers' margins — the time will likely come when shoppers also expect retailers to offer this capability.
"You're seeing now everyone feels like they have to have the service to compete," Prewitt said. "They need to find ways to make all of these things profitable, and that's what every retailer is working toward."